If avoiding animal products is important to you, make sure you check out vegan tattoos the next time you get inked. You may be surprised to learn that most tattoo inks, equipment and aftercare products contain animal products.
Why Standard Tattoos Aren't Vegan
If you're committed to living a vegan lifestyle, you may want to avoid standard tattoo parlors. Nearly all mainstream tattoo dyes and pigments contain animal ingredients, as do traditional aftercare products, and even the types of soap and razors used may contain animal fats and ingredients.
Tattoo inks are made of metals and plant derivatives. Black ink contains charcoal made from bone. These pigments are suspended in a vehicle that contains ethyl alcohol, purified water, witch hazel, Listerine, propylene glycol and glycerin. Nearly all mainstream tattoo inks use a glycerin made from animal fat in their vehicle. This same animal fat shows up in the moisturizing strips of razors, the green soap used and in some aftercare products as well.
About Vegan Tattoos
If you are interested in getting vegan tattoos, do your research. Most tattoo artists, even those that mix their own inks, don't know all the ingredients. Many labels will simply state "color" and "glycerin" without an explanation of where these are derived from.
Some tattoo artists will say that they have never heard of vegan inks, or that they do not believe that such products exist since charcoal, made from animal bones, is such a common ingredient. However, there are vegan tattoo products available for use, and talking with an artist ahead of time may get you the results that you desire.
If you are planning on getting some tattoos and you are interested in vegan tattoos, ask potential artists about the following points.
- Which brand of ink do they use?
- Would they be willing to use vegan inks if directed to them?
- Can they use razors without moisturizing strips?
- Can they use soaps without glycerin or use vegetable glycerin soaps?
Brands of Vegan Ink
While most mainstream brands of tattoo ink do contain animal ingredients, there are some inks available on the market that are vegan. These inks are usually sold only to licensed tattoo artists and parlors, so purchasing them yourself may not be an option. You can talk to potential artists and parlors about the possibility of them offering vegan tattoos using one of these products. Before getting a tattoo, check with vegan tattoo artists to see if they use the following:
Many of the traditional aftercare products on the market for tattoos contain lanolin or beeswax.. To keep your vegan tattoo moisturized as it heals, try one of the following products instead.
- Rose Tattoo Care
- Coconut oil
- Dr. Bronner's Balm
- Black Cat Tattoo Cleanser
- Tattoo Goo
- Try the natural healing method of leaving your tattoo clean and dry to heal on its own with no moisturizers; just use your normal cleaning products.
If you are already following the vegan lifestyle, you are probably used to researching and checking labels of nearly everything you ingest or put on your skin. Take this research a step further to include vegan tattoos to ensure that your ink is something of which you can feel proud.
While vegan tattoos are not yet commonplace, companies working to provide inks and aftercare products safe for vegan use are getting more attention from tattoo artists. Help spread the word by inquiring at the parlor where you get your next tattoo, and help make vegan tattoos more available for everyone.